Focusing on Your P.A.C.E.

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by Brian Hassler (aka Brian the Trainer)

Pace: (pās)
n.

1. The rate of speed at which a person, animal, or group walks or runs.
2. The rate of speed at which an activity or movement proceeds.

tyler carson jennifer erin run

Recently I have been thinking about the idea of increasing your pace during workouts. This accomplishes two things: more work in the same amount of time (think Cindy) or the same amount of work in less time (think Helen). This should lead to PR city, right?

This isn’t always the case, though because it is not as simple as increasing workload or crunching time. This is where focusing on your P.A.C.E.™ comes into play. In this instance, P.A.C.E. stands for purpose, athleticism, consistency and execution.

Purpose

In the simplest form, this is the reason or motivation behind why you are doing what you are doing, even if the reason is to look good in a sleeveless shirt. From a coaching perspective, I view this in three different categories:

1. Short Term:

This involves the reason(s) behind your planned activity for an individual day (preferably today’s training session) such as strength, endurance, speed, recovery, mobility, technique, etc. Multiple qualities would likely be combined and would be very specific in nature  (i.e. mobility: hip-couch stretch; strength: 5×5 squats; aerobic work capacity: repeated efforts of 3 minutes for distance+rest 3 minute).

2. Medium Term:

This would be enlarged to 4-12 week time period and could include goals like increasing your squat, increasing your aerobic capacity, losing 5-20lbs, increasing your lean body mass, decreasing your time in your specific sporting event, etc. Focusing on one main goal will be more beneficial. This doesn’t mean you abandon ship on other trainable qualities, just don’t expect them to necessarily improve as much as the focused area. One caveat would be that focusing on mobility alone may lead to improvements in other areas.

3. Long Term:

This category is the widest time frame and could be from 1 year to multiple years. Long Term could be very general or very specific, such as getting a college scholarship in Sport A, making the Olympics, reducing job-related stress or repetitive injury, and/or being healthier.

Athleticism

The goal of any training session should be to show some level of athleticism. This is a very abstract concept because there is no written scale for athleticism, but instead we have a representation of what high levels of athleticism would look like in pro sports or at the Olympics. However, even given those models, different sports carry different characteristics of athleticism. One definition of athleticism I find useful is this: the quality of having the kind of strength, power (speed) and energy that makes a great athlete or product. This definition gives us a blueprint from which we can work backwards. This can also be general or specific and not necessarily related to sports. For instance, the NFL combine has given us measurable traits of athleticism that are important for that sport. I also think you can relate this to your own life outside of sports where strength could be fortitude to make a decision and stick with it, power to control your thoughts or emotions, and energy to complete a task. More tangible examples of athleticism may be how well you are moving for that day dependent upon the standards that have been placed before you, how well you are demonstrating a previous learned skill, or how well you learning a new skill.

Consistency

The achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time (per Google). As above with Purpose, I approach Consistency from three angles: time, skill, and athleticism.

1. Time:

If you don’t show up consistently all other aspects of P.A.C.E.™ will suffer.

2. Skill:

Repetition, repetition, repetition. If you want to perform a skill to a level that “does not vary greatly in quality over time” than you will need to perform that skill correctly over and over. Within a workout or training session, consistency on skill can be viewed as climbing a ladder. Knowing that you can take a step back is just as important as taking a step forward. This is where regressions and progressions would be applied.

3. Athleticism:

Consistency in how you move or perform is subjective but training sessions (especially strength and conditioning) should maintain a certain level of what I have coined as athletic consistency. Small changes may not warrant taking your foot off the gas, but gross defects in your movement patterns should not be allowed and should be addressed accordingly.

Execution

Training is not about hitting the Enter key to magically run some program for you. Execution starts the moment you walk in the gym. It starts with the warm-up or movement prep or mobility work. It continues into the workout and it doesn’t stop when the timer is done. Execution covers all facets of your program, from nutrition to training to recovery. You can train with purpose, athleticism and consistency, but if you do not execute on nutrition or recovery you will not see optimal results.

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Increasing your P.A.C.E.™ is something that I hope will help you. I appreciate any constructive comments.

Focusing on Your P.A.C.E.” was originally posted on the Champions Club website on 17 August 2014. 

Tags: Contributor Network, Brian Hassler, Champions Club
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